Brady's Bunch

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Fascinating lunch duo last Monday at the Four Seasons restaurant in New York, Lou Dobbs of CNN and Steve Friedman, senior executive producer of CBS' "The Early Show." Could longtime CBS exec Steve be heading to Atlanta?

There's a "James Brady" posting various Internet notes who uses an e-mail address of Nothing scurrilous that I know about. But it ain't me.

Give that man a raise! The N.Y. ad sales manager of USA Today accosted me on West 55th Street to demand why I haven't recently written about his newspaper. That's direct action for you, by God!

The Los Angeles Times reports, "Lawyers for Hearst Corp. appear to be moving toward dividing the publishing giant's 83,000-acre ranch in San Simeon into 279 oceanfront parcels." I read a four-paragraph AP version in the New York Post. Why wasn't it bigger news? San Simeon is spectacular on its own. But in the movie version, it was "Xanadu," where Charles Foster Kane stowed his treasures and the girl, and where he died yearning for "Rosebud." In that brief period when I was a Hearst exec ('71-'72), I was occasionally summoned by Richard Berlin to his offices so he could tell stories of the old days. He was the boss then, the job Frank Bennack has today, and he told a good yarn. During the Great Depression with business off and W.R. Hearst Sr. still spending gorgeously, Dick Berlin told of prodigious and inventive tactics to stave off creditors. "We kited checks," he said proudly, "we kept it going." Then one day came help from an unlikely source, old Joe Kennedy, an offer to pay X million for the San Simeon land. "I thought about it and concluded if that bastard Kennedy would pay X, it was worth more. So I commissioned a timber cruise of the property. And the timber alone was worth substantially more than what Kennedy offered for the entire property."

Frank Carroll and Paul Mullaney have rounded up about 10 war correspondents who covered Korea for their Nov. 4 tribute dinner in Worcester, Mass. Frank says 18 reporters died during the war, and they'll be honoring them as well. For info, 1-800-343-0939, ext. 110.

Child magazine has a new photo editor, Topaz LeTourneau, from Self. What a great name! Has Topaz filed for copyright protection? If not, I may lift it for the next Hamptons comedy of manners.

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